WWII vet­er­ans meet again in Win­teron

Cor­morant heli­copter ar­rives for Re­mem­brance Day assem­bly at Perl­win El­e­men­tary

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Rev. Wes­ley Oake and John Pin­horn know all too well the hor­rors of com­bat. The two men fought for Al­lied Forces in the Sec­ond World War as part of an ar­tillery reg­i­ment. Last week, the two men man­aged to meet up when search-an­dres­cue per­son­nel from 9 Wing Gan­der dropped by Perl­win El­e­men­tary in a Cor­morant heli­copter for the Win­ter­ton school’s Re­mem­brance Day assem­bly.

Two New­found­lan­ders en­listed in the same ar­tillery reg­i­ment dur­ing the Sec­ond World War re­united last Tues­day in Win­ter­ton, Trin­ity Bay.

Af­ter the Cor­morant heli­copter from 103 Search and Res­cue Squadron 9 Wing Gan­der landed on the ball field, Rev. Wes­ley Oake ex­ited the air­craft to meet his old friend, Win­ter­ton’s John Pin­horn.

Over 70 years ago, Wes­ley and John served with the 166th Royal New­found­land Ar­tillery Reg­i­ment. They trained in Eng­land and were also in North Africa be­fore tak­ing part in the in­va­sion of Italy. Their reg­i­ment con­trib­uted to the Bat­tle of Monte Cassino, a deadly cam­paign that re­sulted in tens-of-thou­sands of ca­su­al­ties for both Al­lied and Ger­man forces.

“We were there to­gether. We fought to­gether,” Wes­ley told The Com­pass, seated in a ve­hi­cle while school chil­dren took turns ex­plor­ing the heli­copter’s in­te­rior.

It’s rare th­ese days to find two men in their mid-90s who can still serve as a link to such hor­rific events as those that played out over the course of a six-year war.

“It brings too many mem­o­ries to us,” said Wes­ley, who was born on the is­land of Beau­mont in Green Bay and lives in Gan­der. “The 166 New­found­land Field Reg­i­ment Royal Ar­tillery was a fam­ily, and we were to­gether.”

Ac­cord­ing to John, whose grand­son Jim is the com­mand­ing of­fi­cer for 103 Squadron, there were over 1,000 mem­bers

It brings too many mem­o­ries to us. The 166 New­found­land Field Reg­i­ment Royal Ar­tillery was a fam­ily, and we were to­gether. Rev. Wes­ley Oake

of the 166th Reg­i­ment. To­day, Wes­ley reck­ons there are less than a dozen sur­viv­ing mem­bers of that group.

Perl­win El­e­men­tary held its Re­mem­brance Day assem­bly Tues­day, with sev­eral rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 103 Squadron join­ing the stu­dents and mem­bers of Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 23 in Car­bon­ear.

For years, Wes­ley has vis­ited schools like Perl­win, where he was sched­uled to speak Tues­day. He’s al­ways im­pressed by how in­ter­ested stu­dents are.

“What amazes me about that in their gen­er­a­tion is how in­tel­li­gent they are and the in­tel­li­gent ques­tions they ask,” he said. “They know, as I tell them, that it’s their re­spon­si­bil­ity to see that there are no more wars.”

PHOTOS BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/TC ME­DIA

John Pin­horn, left, and Rev. Wes­ley Oake pose in front of a Cor­morant heli­copter on the ball field in Win­ter­ton.

From the left, Perl­win El­e­men­tary stu­dents Erin Reid, Emily Doroucher, Ash­ton Ivany and Blake Coates test out the pas­sen­ger seats on a Cor­morant heli­copter.

Chil­dren from Perl­win El­e­men­tary took turns on Nov. 8 check­ing out the heli­copter vis­it­ing from 9 Wing Gan­der.

Sophia Bishop takes a peek out one of the win­dows of the Cor­morant heli­copter that came to Win­ter­ton last Tues­day.

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